The bomber jacket has flown far and wide since its aviator origins. As a military uniform for pilots and soldiers during the war, the bomber jacket was picked up by style icons soon after and fast became a men’s fashion essential – which stands true still in the new century.
Recognised for its transeasonal versatility – making it wearable in summer and winter – the bomber jacket’s cropped, square silhouette cuts a masculine figure and its ribbed cuffs and elastic waistband refine the torso of the modern man.
It’s a sure-fire way to add some bad boy to your wardrobe too, with metallic hardware and patch details. And the bomber now even packs some pared-back aesthetics – less zips and pockets on more luxurious jackets, catering for minimalist tastes.
Whatever your taste and price limit, there’s a bomber jacket for you. Click through the slideshow for the best bomber jacket styles in 2016.
Breaking It Down
Now on the frontline of the men’s fashion army, the war-bearing bomber jacket has soften and shed some weight for since its battle escapades, caving to the ever-changing tastes of the stylish men.
Working in on-trend fabrics (suede and neoprene), cool colours (dark red and mustard) and bold prints (giant florals and off-beat coloured camouflage), the bomber jacket is experiencing a zeitgeist moment in men’s fashion. And like its warring nature, it isn’t showing signs of being conquered. Or loosing its classic charm.
Here are the five major bomber jacket styles for men in the new season. And how to wear them.
The original and the best, the flight jacket is how and where the bomber was born. Alpha Industries launched the MA-1, a fashion replica of the exact aviation jacket that the company made for the US military during the war. Now, every high-street retailer and luxury label has their own version, making it the most accessible bomber jacket this season.
Reworked in a number of colourways and fabrics, stick to traditional khaki or navy in a matte nylon. Slimmer in fit than the original, the new nylon MA-1 is lightweight and still features the signature zipped sleeve pocket on the left arm – ideal for a military edge – and the ribbed hem and cuffs retain a cinched fit.
Tailored bomber jackets have seen the casual coat enter the smart casual arena. Mimicking the fit of a relaxed blazer or suit jacket, the smart bomber is streamline in design and sharp on the shoulder.
The cuffed collar, wrists and waistband will create a tapering in the areas that matter most and zips are replaced with press studs, reenacting traditional buttons. The colourway should be neutral – navy, charcoal or black – and in a more blazer-esque fabric such as linen, wool, silk or jersey (or a blended version) for a quality jacket finish that is matte instead of sheeny.
Team the smart bomber over a crisp white shirt and trousers for a fresh workplace look buttoning the middle two of the jacket so not to obscure the well-planned tie and belt. Or wear it open with a waistcoat layered underneath for a modernisation of the three-piece suit.
Prints are back. And there’s no bigger way to celebrate maximalism’s ascension than with a patterned bomber jacket. Very much the statement piece, the printed bomber comes in bold florals, geo-prints, graphic writing, as well as the classic camouflage – sometimes reworked in brighter and lighter shades and in varying sheen and matte fabrics.
Orientalism is a huge trend this season with ancient Chinese motifs featuring as embroidery on the satiny bomber jacket – just like the souvenir jackets.
It’s certainly a trend-lead, anti-classic aesthetic so team the audacious jacket with minimal pieces such as basic t-shirt and jogger pants – the active bottoms creating a cool edge to the flourishing florals or zoopedup zig-zags or checks that criss-cross the jacket fabric.
While bold patterns are a fun way to make a sartorial splash in your wardrobe, look to more affordable retailers and brands to get your print-fix.
The collegiate uniform, the varsity jacket has been schooled by the bomber. In reworking preparatory traditions, this season’s varsity jacket is void of bold logos and lettering, as well as the hefty, woollen fabric known to its mid-section region.
Neoprene – think wetsuit material – has revolutionised the jock’s coat, creating an active play – with some brands opting for contrast sleeves. Other neo-varsity styles are collegiate in colour – think navy, emerald or maroon – and adopt the sports stripe on the ribbed neck or cuff.
Pair the varsity bomber with jogger pants and sneakers for an off-duty street look or jeans/chinos and brogues for something smarter.
The bomber jacket is getting on the Americana bandwagon. But rather than become a redneck version of its former self, high-fashion brands are using wild-west fabrics such as suede for an oh-so-soft and svelte look to the heavy-duty bomber.
Perfect for a touch of texture this season, the suede bomber is giving depth and difference to tonal outfits. Essential for the minimalist, suede looks best in stone, khaki and beige for a Scandinavian cropped trouser and boxy t-shirt ensemble.
For the American rocker, look to pitch black or desert brown suede and pair with dark denim and Chelsea boots, sending up a style offering to the fashion greatness of Hedi Slimane.
Click through the slideshow for the 25 best men’s bomber jackets in 2016.